For people who hold down a 9-5 job, creating a CV is a fairly straightforward process. However, if you’ve been freelancing for a while, you may start to despair at how to list the multiple projects and jobs you’ve taken on in a manageable order to impress future employers. Learn how to write freelance experience in a resume!
Many freelancers are frequently looking for new work, and your CV, therefore, needs to be constantly up-to-date and an excellent showcase of your skills and experience as a freelancer.
If you’ve been struggling to list your freelance work in your resume in a way that truly showcases what you can do, follow our tips here to really get your CV in shape:
- Do you need your freelance experience in your resume?
- How to list your freelance work in your resume
- General tips on how to create a great Freelancer CV
- Freelance resume example (with template to download)
Do you need a freelance resume?
If you have been freelancing alongside a full-time job, you may be tempted to leave your freelance work out of your resume altogether.
However, you should only do this if you have not gained additional skills and experience in your role as a freelancer. If you have widened your skill set by freelancing, you may be shutting the door to potential opportunities by not letting employers know that via your CV. Freelancing does count as work experience!
On the other hand, if you have only been freelancing as your main source of income, you should definitely be listing this work on your CV. Not listing your freelance projects will look like an employment gap on your CV, which never looks good to potential employers.
💡 Create multiple resumes
Many freelancers do more than just one specific type of freelance work. For example, you may have experience in both web development and web design.
In these cases, it may be worthwhile to create multiple CVs tailored towards the type of work you are applying for, e.g. development work, or design work.
Each CV should highlight your most significant experience in this niche and be tailored toward the type of employer to whom you are sending your CV.
You can then include any other experience as a freelancer, but be sure to look more experienced and more suitable for the specific role you are applying for rather than appearing to be a little all over the place with your work.
Creating multiple resumes is a time-consuming process, but it can really pay off if you want to target different freelance niches and boost your chances of success in each field.
How to list your freelance work on your resume
There are a few different ways you can effectively list your freelance work on your resume, and this is often dependent on your previous experience and how long you have been freelancing.
A few options you might like to consider:
It is always a good idea to list your most recent experience at the top of your ‘Work’ section on your resume. You should include the company, the dates you worked for them, and a brief outline of your role and the responsibilities you had.
A chronological CV will list your experience in reverse-chronological order (from most recent to oldest). Formatting your CV this way is great if you have been working as a freelancer for several years and have held more long-term client contracts in a particular skill rather than picking up one-off projects here and there and for multiple types of work.
An example of a freelancer resume adding experience chronologically could look like this:
Company XYZ, London, UK
Senior Project Manager IT – Jan 2019 to Jan 2020
Managed the full lifecycle of an e-commerce enabling project, reporting to the program manager including stakeholder management. Cost management and change management using Clarity and MS-Project. Harnessed PMP methodologies while also overseeing product evaluations.
Company 2, Munich, Germany
Project Manager – May 2019 – Nov 2019
Delivered International data center consolidation and relocation. Deployed new consulting packages for performance on z/OS z/series. Offered training courses in English and Dutch for end customers.
Less experienced freelancers may prefer to format their resume according to skillset. This is also applicable if you have done a lot of different types of freelance work such as social media, SEO, copywriting, web design, etc.
If you list your freelance work according to skill, your resume might look something like the example below:
List your freelance experience in social media, including the client name, dates worked, and key responsibilities.
List your experience, client name, dates worked, responsibilities, and link to work if relevant.
List your experience, client name, dates worked, responsibilities, and link to work if relevant.
If your freelance work is a little all over the place with projects showcasing a range of skills, ordering your resume this way will showcase all of your experience as a freelancer without confusing potential employers as to what you can actually offer as a freelancer.
Finally, it can be a good idea to list your freelance work as a combination of work experience and skills.
In this case, you would list your work experience in reverse-chronological order (most recent first), and then include a separate ‘Skills’ section to highlight other types of work you have done in the past.
This is probably the most common, but it is all dependent on your resume’s specific needs.
Tips for creating a killer CV as a freelancer
#1 Be ruthless
Many freelancers, when first starting out, will take on lower-paying jobs in order to get a foot on the ladder. When listing your freelance work on your CV, it’s important to be ruthless and exclude any work that does not really showcase your skills as a freelancer.
This also applies to work you may have done at the beginning for free for family or friends. While this kind of work is great to put in your portfolio and on your resume when you are a new freelancer, you may want to remove this work from your CV once you have paying clients to replace it.
#2 Add metrics to prove your accomplishments
Add figures and percentages to show the great work you did for a particular client or on a particular period (if you can’t disclose any details about that particular client because you signed an NDA).
Positive metrics are always a good thing to add to your resume and that can get you hired.
An example for a writer freelance resume:
Oct, 2019 – Dec, 2019 – Freelancer copywriter and outreach specialist (client protected by NDA)
– Created a content plan and worked on 100+ articles that grew traffic by 40% from 250K to 350K pageviews/month.
– Ranked 50 pieces on positions 1 to 4 in Google
– Gained 60+ backlinks from relevant blogs and news sites
Or an example of a more IT-focused role:
Oct, 2019 – Dec, 2019 – Freelance IT manager, XYD Consulting
– Managed an IT project with budgets of $50,000 each
– Created customized software that automated the requirement-tracking for 100 programs
– Implemented Scrum methodology that saved 10 meeting hours per week per engineer
– Lead a team of 10 engineers
– All implementations earn additional $10,000 / month
#3 Show your work
As a freelancer, your work must speak for itself. Always include a link to your portfolio in your resume, directing potential employers to a showcase of your best work.
While having an excellent CV is important, having a strong portfolio that demonstrates your skills as a freelancer should be your top priority when trying to find more work, as clients will directly see what you have done.
The CV is more like the icing on the cake!
#4 Sell your strengths
Listing “bare” strengths, such as “motivated and hard-working team player” or “good communications skills”, on a resume is probably the most common trap job seekers fall into. Unfortunately, it has exactly zero worth on your resume.
Consider telling a story when listing your strengths. Think about an example of how a certain skill helped you in your last job and try to condense it in one or two sentences. Backing those statements up increases their value immensely and reassures the recruiter that you’re not just trying to make yourself look better than you actually are.
#5 Adapt your CV accordingly
If you’re looking for a job or a contract, it is very likely that you’re sending out multiple resumes a day. It often seems easy to put pretty much the same information in all of them, but it’s definitely going to be a deal-breaker.
Job descriptions usually focus on certain aspects or skills potential candidates should have. Every resume you write should be concentrated on the exact points the employer is looking for. This also means cutting out irrelevant information. You might be proud of a certain achievement, but if it’s not really relevant for the job you’re currently applying for, you might as well leave it out.
#6 Avoid clichés
There are many overused phrases and sentences that you should steer clear of. Such clichés either have little to no meaning or just go without saying most of the time. “References available upon request” is one of these phrases. You’re not doing yourself a favour by wasting precious space in your resume to tell the recruiter something they already know – it’s not like you’re going to deny sending them references if they do get requested!
Describing yourself as “motivated” is another good example of a cliché that has little value. In order to avoid clichés, consider whether a certain word or phrase actually has some meaning that will help you get the job. If the answer is no, you probably want to cut it out, a recruiter is unlikely to read your whole resume, so you better make every sentence count.
#7 Proofread your CV
This may seem like an obvious tip but you would be surprised to learn just how many CVs contain spelling or grammatical errors.
Make sure to always proofread your resumes. Spelling mistakes tell the recruiter that you didn’t put in those extra five to ten minutes of effort to double-check what you actually wrote. And if you’re not willing to do that you probably don’t deserve a shot at getting the job or contract, at least from the recruiter’s point of view.
Freelance Resume Example Listing Freelance work
With all of the information we’ve seen, let’s see how a complete freelancer resume could look like.
This is an example that you could use and adapt to your particular freelance work experience:
Freelance experience in CV – Download template in Word
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